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BOX OF BONES: Here’s an offer you...

BOX OF BONES: Here’s an offer you don’t get every day. . . . How about heading for the Ventura Harbor this afternoon to sip Chardonnay and toast the arrival of 70,000-year-old pygmy mammoth bones? The Friends of the Channel Islands National Park are holding a “special toasting” for the archeologists who have excavated the rare fossil on Santa Rosa Island. The fossil arrives on the mainland at 1 p.m. Public “viewing” begins at 2 p.m. But there’s a rub: the skeleton will be totally encased in a protective plaster cast.

HELPING HANDS: It’s been a hot week on the fire line in San Luis Obispo. . . . But fire crews are close to containing the largest brush fire of the year. All told, arson fire destroyed 37 homes and charred nearly 50,000 acres of rolling hills. Fire departments in Ventura County sent a total of 59 firefighters and 15 fire engines to help out. . . . “Our crews are doing mop-up and cleaning around the structures that they helped save,” said Capt. Mark Taillon of the Ventura County Fire Department.

BEAT THE HEAT: Junior Navarrete knows a good Cherry Bomb. It’s sweet. It’s wet. And it’s cold. . . . When that familiar jingle wafts down his block, Junior clambers outside to join other Moorpark kids in a mad dash for Marcello Padilla’s ice-cream truck (B4). . . . Ice-cream vendors are about the only ones not complaining about this week’s heat. They say their sales have never been brisker.

QUEASY RIDER: As concessions manager at the county fair, Steve Charleston randomly tests carnies for drugs and booze. It’s his job to make sure the rides are safe and operators sober (B1) . . . . To test the rides and his own mettle, Times reporter Fred Alvarez took a spin on all of those worth riding. Out of his most excellent adventure, Alvarez offers some tips. The best: Kamakazi. It’s 90 seconds of head-spinning fun that even the faint of heart can enjoy. The worst: Ghost Pirates. “It’s too hot,” he said, “too short and costs too much.”

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